Monday 10 August 1668

Up, and by water to White Hall, and thence to Sir W. Coventry, but he is gone out of town this morning, so thence to my Lord Arlington’s house, the first time I there since he come thither, at Goring House, a very fine, noble place; and there he received me in sight of several Lords with great respect. I did give him an account of my journey; and here, while I waited for him a little, my Lord Orrery took notice of me, and begun discourse of hangings, and of the improvement of shipping: I not thinking that he knew me, but did then discover it, with a mighty compliment of my abilities and ingenuity, which I am mighty proud of; and he do speak most excellently. Thence to Westminster Hall, and so by coach to the old Exchange, and there did several businesses, and so home to dinner, and then abroad to Duck Lane, where I saw my belle femme of the book vendor, but had no opportunity para hazer con her. So away to Cooper’s, where I spent all the afternoon with my wife and girl, seeing him make an end of her picture, which he did to my great content, though not so great as, I confess, I expected, being not satisfied in the greatness of the resemblance, nor in the blue garment: but it is most certainly a most rare piece of work, as to the painting. He hath 30l. for his work — and the chrystal, and case, and gold case comes to 8l. 3s. 4d.; and which I sent him this night, that I might be out of debt. Thence my people home, and I to Westminster Hall about a little business, and so by water home [to] supper, and my wife to read a ridiculous book I bought today of the History of the Taylors’ Company, and all the while Deb. did comb my head, and I did toker her with my main para very great pleasure, and so to bed.

20 Annotations

First Reading

nix  •  Link

Ah, Samuel, watch those wandering hands . . . they can only lead to a land of trouble, or a World of Hurt.

Robert Gertz  •  Link

"...and my wife to read a ridiculous book I bought today of the History of the Taylors’ Company, and all the while Deb. did comb my head, and I did toker her with my main para very great pleasure..."

Wait? So Bess was reading the history of the noble Merchant Taylors while Sam was having his combing and feeling Deb up? I guess the parlor is pretty dark at chez Pepys.

"Oh, Deb...Oh, Deb...Ohhh...Deb."


"Stiff one there...Needed to take hold while she...Pulled the comb. Please continue, Bess. And you, Deborah...Please. Just a bit harder, please."

"Do you need my help, too, Sam'l?"

Hmmn...Ummn, well... That does suggest an intriguing...

Oh, Lord...Why dost thou torment thy weak servant Samuel so?

"No, no, dear...Just keep reading. It's hilarious."

"Getting a bit silly with the comic romance..."

"Oh, yes...Yes...It is. But don't stop now. Nor you, Deb...Please."

"Should I get some oil?"


Hmmn...Again, intriguing...

"For the nits...It might help. They seem to be coming out slowly. Deb, are you having any trouble? Do you need me to help you with Mr. Pepys?"

Oh, my...Clearly the Almighty is now just having fun with me...

Say what is that music?

"Everytime it rains, it rains...Pennies from Heaven..." Bess and Deb in shimmering dance costumes tap-dancing and singing as they guide a top-hatted, tuxedoed Sam up the Stairway to Paradise...

"I'll build a stairway to Paradise
With a new step ev'ry day !
I'm gonna get there at any price;
Stand aside, I'm on my way !
Climbing my Stairway to Paradise...Stand aside, Sam's on his way..."

"Nephew!" cry from Uncle Wight suddenly appearing below... "Take me with you, for the love of God...And a thousand pounds!!"

"Sorry, Uncle...One passenger per fantasy." Bess calls.

A shocked Bess summoned frantically by Deb, both staring at Sam on the floor.

"What happened, Deb?"

"I don't know, Mrs Pepys. He was holding on to my...Me...And just gave a cry and fainted. Like this... 'Ohhh...'"...Roll of eyes, lolling head. "Just like that, ma'am."

"Sam'l?! Oh, sweetheart." Bess embraces unconscious Sam. "My poor darling...Deb, go fetch Jane, she'll know what to do. Oh, it must be his stone cut or something. Maybe the three of us need to massage him. Oh, darling...Hurry, Deb!" tight hug.

Climbing my Stairway to Paradise...

Jenny  •  Link

Inspired, Robert, and very funny.

If only Cooper's miniature of Elizabeth had survived. It's probably still on someone's wall "Unknown Lady, 17th century".

Sam, delighted to be recognised by great company. He really is a dear.

martinb  •  Link

Could these actions be consecutive rather than simultaneous i.e. first he has his hair combed by Deb while wife reads aloud, then he touches Deb and goes to bed? Mind-boggling otherwise, although he has done things like this before, in coaches etc.

Bryan M  •  Link

"I guess the parlor is pretty dark at chez Pepys."

Good point RG. We all take electrical illumination for granted these days. If Elizabh was reading she would have to be near the candles. Sam and Deb presumably could be in a much dimmer part of the room without arousing suspicion.

"and begun discourse of hangings"

Hmmm. Somehow I don't think they were talking about pictures.

JWB  •  Link

"Lord Orrery took notice of me..."

Perhaps younger brother Robert brought notice to him of him. Colberts the other day & Boyles today bring up heretical thoughts on heredity.

LKvM  •  Link

Re Cooper's miniature of Elizabeth, if it survived: "It's probably still on someone's wall 'Unknown Lady, 17th Century.'"

Isn't a miniature a "picture-in-little" that one wears on a chain around the neck? Or maybe as a brooch? That would explain "the chrystal, and case, and gold case" that Pepys mentions.

And if Sam got the painting and the crystal, case, and gold case for a total of 38l., 3s., 4d., he got a bargain compared to the "twenty, forty, fifty, a hundred ducats" Hamlet says that courtiers paid for his Uncle Claudius's picture-in-little.

Jenny  •  Link

Yes, a miniature is tiny but these days it would probably be hung with a like group on a wall.

Robert Gertz  •  Link


"I suppose there's no way to tell them to check your uncle's descendants?"

"Have to be impressed by Uncle's persistence...If he couldn't have you, he made sure one of his descendants would, after a fashion..." Sam notes.

"Must you put it that way...?" Bess, sighing... "I really hate the thought of my portrait with that Australian multibillionaire. Lord knows what he does with it..."

"I still can't believe Uncle stole it from the house during your funeral, right under my grieving nose." Sam, shaking head.

Oh...That Scotch nurse with my Halys was bad enough, but this..."

"Bess, if I could..."

Katherine  •  Link

The "ridiculous book" was written by Winstanley, according to the link. He was the originator of the True Levellers, called Diggers by their detractors. In San Francisco in the 1960s we had a group called the diggers who collected contributions and gave them away in a storefront in the Haight-Ashbury district. I wonder if the 1660s felt to Sam as the 1960s did to us, all turmoil and social change.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

324. Pietro Mocenigo, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.

As the baggage of the sieur de Colbert, the French ambassador has already entered London, it is believed that he himself will not be long in appearing, preceded by the decree concerning the appointment of the audiences, reported to your Serenity by Sig. Marchesini. His negotiations, which excite great curiosity at the Court, will call for the closest attention, and I hope that I shall not leave your Excellencies in the dark, since it is believed that here will be made the theatre of the most weighty transactions and of the secret mysteries of that crown, which in its ambition to overflow its own limits, does not look with a friendly eye on the great power of the Dutch, who are free from commitments and which is ready to thwart all advancement.
London, the 10th August, 1668. [Italian.]…

pepfie  •  Link

"saw my belle femme of the book vendor, but had no opportunity para hazer con her."

The German translation has the rather innocent *para hablar con*. L&M?

Mary  •  Link


L&M confirms "para hablar"

languagehat  •  Link

Good catch! For those who don't know Spanish, Sam just wanted "to talk with" her.

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

'Charles II: August 1668', in Calendar of State Papers Domestic: Charles II, 1667-8, ed. Mary Anne Everett Green (London, 1893), pp. 516-565.…

Aug. 10. 1668
The King to the Lord Mayor and aldermen of London.

Observing that in the rebuilding of the city, some low parts about Fleet Street,
and some quays, wharfs, and other public places are to be raised, and if not done with hard and substantial matter, the ground, in places of continual passage, and where great weights are to be laid, will be false;
considering too that great part of St. Paul’s church has to be re-edified, and other parts taken down, so that there will be an extraordinary quantity of stony rubbish, useful for the said purposes;
we wish you to order the said rubbish to be carried to the low parts of Fleet Street or other places, till raised to the designed level, and no other to be used whilst there is sufficient from St. Paul’s.

This will not only ease the vast charge of repairing the said church, but provide for raising the said places with sure and lasting material
[S.P. Dom., Entry Book 27, f. 7.]

Aug. 10. 1668
Grant to Mathew Wren, secretary to the Duke of York,
of 500/. a year during his employment, in lieu of the fees, &c.,
usually received by the Lord Admiral’s secretary, on admission of persons into offices in the Navy or yards.
[Docquet, Vol. 23, No. 249.]

Aug. 10. 1668
Ant. Thorold to Hickes.

The Mary and Lily Rose of Lyme from Morlaix report that most of the French fleet are laid up at Brest, and many of the land forces disbanded.

Several vessels outward bound are waiting for a fair wind.
[S.P. Dom., Car. No. 244, No. 132.]
Murlace, Morlaise, aka Morlaix, refer to the port in Brittany 100 miles or so west of St. Malo now known as Morlaix.

Aug. 10. 1668
Thos. Holden to Hickes.

The Four Brothers of London from Bermuda left 200,000 lb. of tobacco there,
not being allowed by the company to bring any away, they keeping it for the
ships belonging to that company;
so she had to load with logwood and seeds.
[S P Dom., Car. II. 244, No. 133.]

Aug. 10. 1668
Treasury Chambers, Whitehall.
Sir George Downing to Williamson.

The Treasury Commissioners desire you will insert an advertisement sent,
in the Gazette, that a new contract is to be made for victualling the Navy,
and proposals by sufficient undertakers are to be sent in 20. Aug. 3 p.m.,
the conditions to be had beforehand from me.
[S P Dom., Car. II. 244, No. 137.]

Aug. 10. 1668
Hugh Salesbury to Williamson.

The paymasters were leaving, having finished payment of the ships,
but last night 3 coaches arrived with money, so they will remain to pay off the dock.

The King and Duke of York are expected this afternoon from Bagshot.
[S P Dom., Car. II. 244, No. 139.]

Bill Leslie  •  Link

In Spanish, "hacer," which he writes as "hazer" means "to make," or "to do." I think here he means "to do her," and not "hablar" which means to speak. IMHO.

Gerald Berg  •  Link

No moaning/heavy breathing by either him or Deb? He enjoyed it but did she?

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... my Lord Orrery took notice of me, and begun discourse of hangings, and of the improvement of shipping: I not thinking that he knew me, but did then discover it, with a mighty compliment of my abilities and ingenuity, which I am mighty proud of; and he do speak most excellently."

A famous playwright, a member of parliament, and member of the Irish aristocracy wanted to chat with Pepys about shipping and (I think) wall hangings (i.e. tapestries, probably inspired by what they were looking at on the walls of Goring House)!
Pepys must have fallen through the floor with confusion and delight.

I remember the first time someone famous knew me enough by sight to strike up some small talk. I bet Pepys took the same deep breath, and acted as if this was all completely normal just as I did. What a compliment.

I'll have to figure out if Roger Boyle, Baron Broghill, 1st Earl of Orrery was in Parliament when Pepys made his epic three hour speach last year ... that must have brought Pepys to many influential people's attention.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"... all the while Deb. did comb my head, ..."

I think this was an exercise in nit-picking, and therefore must have been done in good light as well. It is summer time. Google tells me the sun will set at 8:15 p.m. on August 19 (did I move the date the right way?).

Pepys' repeated flirting/grooming in front of Elizabeth makes it hard for Deb to be believed if she does say something. Assuming she is a hot-blooded teenager, can we assume she might find these caresses very titillating? Who knows at what point she became enamored with this middle-aged bureaucrat, and why? Stranger things have happened before and since.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

"there will be an extraordinary quantity of stony rubbish"

Where to put the rubbish after the Great Fire was a big problem.

The gentle author of Spitalfields Life has discovered that a 14th century charnel house (bone repository) under Bishop's Square was cleaned out and filled with Great Fire rubble, and later built over. It's been excavated now ...…

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